Huge Ants Taking Over My House
Location:  South Florida
August 5, 2010 11:28 am
To What’s That Bug?,
I live in South Florida, and for the past few days, my house has been home for some humongous ants. At first, it was just the usual ”ewe…look at this huge bug!” (squishes ant with flipflop). But now, I see about 5 or 6 of these monstrous ants daily, especially in the early morning and night. These bugs look like very large queen ants, measuring from 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch long. They have reddish black heads and torsos, but the abdomen is dark black and quite large. All of these bugs that I’ve encountered have cellophane-like wings and big ”pinchers”. I want to get to the bottom of these pests, so I don’t have to worry about them crawling over me when I sleep. HELP!!!
Jackie

Florida Carpenter Ant Alate

Hi Jackie,
It appears as though you have Florida Carpenter Ant alates, the winged reproductive form that swarms and begins a new colony.  There may be a Florida Carpenter Ant colony somewhere in your home, and the presence of the alates over the past few days will eventually cease until the next swarming season.  You can find out more about the Florida Carpenter Ants,
Camponotus floridanus, on BugGuide.

Florida Carpenter Ant Alates

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Help!
Location:  Glen Arbor, MI
August 4, 2010 7:56 pm
Found this bug in Glen Arbor, MI on August 3. I’ve never seen anything like it up there before. Can you help? Thanks!!
Erin Brotherton

Summer Fishfly

Hi Erin,
This is a Summer Fishfly,
Chauliodes pectinicornis, and you may compare your image to the ones posted to BugGuide.

what ??
Location:  Cuba
August 4, 2010 12:25 pm
Saw this in Cuba, only an inch or so long, I didnt touch it, I just left it to wander off.
Can you tell me what it is Please.
Thanks
Jan

Mystery Larva from Cuba

Hi Jan,
When we first looked at the thumbnail attached to your email, we thought this must be a Stinging Slug Caterpillar in the family Limacodidae, but once we enlarged it and saw the size of the legs, we changed our mind.  We believe this is a beetle larva, perhaps on of the Lady Beetles in the family Coccinellidae.  There are many examples posted to BugGuide.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

milkweed tussock moth cocoon and butterfly
Location:  south western ontario
August 4, 2010 12:30 pm
neighbour found caterpiller meeting milkweed tussock description. by the time it was brought to me allready made very cool fiberous cocoon. emerged after 4 months.
bug-eyed canadian

Spotted Tussock Moth Cocoon

Hi bug-eyed canadian,
Your cocoon and adult moth are actually a different Tussock Moth.  Rather than the Milkweed Tussock Moth, this is the Spotted Tussock Moth,
Lophocampa maculata, based on images posted to BugGuide.  We are thrilled to be able to add your photos of the Cocoon and Imago to the existing images of the Caterpillars of the Spotted Tussock Moth already posted to our site.

Spotted Tussock Moth

Busy Bush
Location:  North Middle Tennessee
August 3, 2010 1:12 pm
Hi Daniel,
I don’t know the name of these bushes they are a nuisance. Grow almost everywhere have thorns that tend to break off in your hand, these flowers (sweet smelling) are followed by berries (black) that stain. That being said right now they are the main attraction in the neighborhood for all sorts of insects. Bees, wasp, flies, moths, butterflies are all competing for the nectar. I have spent hours standing in one spot photographing all sorts of critters. (I do keep my distance cause the bees are ”packing heat”) However they all seem to just have eating on their minds, haven’t noticed any agressive behavior from any of them toward each other or me for sticking my nose into their business. One absence I have notice from the nectar feast is ”Honey Bees” they are all but extinct around here. I realize this is off topic but I found all of the bush’s activity interesting. Thanks for all you do and have a wonderful day.
Richard

Monarch and Bumble Bees

Hi Richard,
What, pray tell, is “off topic” in your letter?  We find it to be spot on topic.  We hope one of our readers can provide the name of this plant, because though you have provided some of its negative qualities, it seems the benefits of providing a bounty of nectar for insects and probably berries for birds would make it a very desirable plant for nature enthusiasts who populate their gardens with plants that will attract wildlife.  Among the visitors you have documented are a Monarch Butterfly, a Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly, Bumble Bees and an Ailanthus Webworm Moth.  We are sad to hear of the demise of the local Honey Bee population.  We can only hope that Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) will run its course and the surviving bees will have the genetic resistance to make a comeback.

Tiger Swallowtail, Ailanthus Webworm and other pollinators

Note to Readers: If you recognize this plant, please provide a name.

August 5, 2010 10:04 am
Daniel:  I wonder if the thorny, flowering plant with Tiger Swallowtail and Ailanthus Webworm Moth on it could be
Hercules’ Club (Aralia spinosa) or (less likely) Devil’s Club (Oplopanax horridum).
Best,
Dave Fallow in Madison Wisconsin

Hello Daniel,
I never though it would be of any interest to anyone but since you posted it I became corrious and did a bit of internet searching. The bush is a :”Devil’s Walkingstick” or “Aralia spinosa L.” here is a link to the plant:
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=ARSP2&photoID=arsp2_008_avp.tif
Thank you for all you do and have a wonderful day.
Richard

Mosquito Larvae control
August 3, 2010 2:05 pm
I love your website and am a huge insect fan and I know that you are against the kill of insects but I am not sure how you feel about mosquitos. We have storm drains in our backyard to prevent flooding of our yard and basement. we just returned from a trip to Florida and I have noticed there are mosquito larvae in the storm drains in some water in the drains. I am curious, is there a natural way to dispose of the larvae without polluting the water in the storm drains or hurting killing other insects in the area? Would dish detergent added to water then dumped in the drains do the trick or are more drastic measures needed? any info you can provide me with is greatly apprecatiated and please keep up the great work. i try to preach to friends and family not to squish every bug the see but I feel like I am fighting a losing battle
Ryan Hoffman

Mosquito Larvae

Hi Ryan,
Your situation poses some interesting challenges.  In warm weather, Mosquitoes can mature in a very short span of time.  Obviously, draining the water is the ideal solution because without the stagnant water habitat, they will not proliferate.  Mosquito Fish are used as vector control in many places where there are ponds and other bodies of standing water, but your storm drains do not sound like they would be conducive to supporting vertebrate life.  In lieu of not having any natural predators that can eliminate the infestation, we believe your idea to use a mild dish detergent solution should help the situation.  As an aside, we are including a photo we recently took of Mosquito Larvae captured in our bird bath.  We feed them to our freshwater aquarium fish who gobble them up eagerly, but they must be netted at the source for that to be of any benefit.

Host specific Bacteria to target Mosquito Larvae
mosquito dunks…
Hi Daniel,
Just FYI for the person wanting to kill the mosquito larva…there are mosquito dunks that have a host specific bacteria in them (bti) that feeds on the larva of mosquitoes, but not other beneficial insects.  They can be used in ponds as well to keep the mosquito population under control.
From the Valent BioSciences Corp website…
VectoBac®/Bactimos® – VectoBac and Bactimos, naturally occurring larvicides based on Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis, control certain pests from the order diptera. Around the world, VectoBac and Bactimos are routinely used to control populations of mosquito and black fly larvae, which are primarily nuisances in the U.S., but also transmit life-threatening diseases like encephalitis, malaria, dengue and onchocerciasis (river blindness) in other parts of the world. VectoBac and Bactimos have the ability to eliminate 95-100% of all black fly and mosquito larvae – quickly and effectively.
VectoBac and Bactimos are Bti larvicides sold by Valent BioSciences Corporation. Biological testing has shown VectoBac and Bactimos to be two of the most ecologically friendly insecticides in use today. These products kill larvae of mosquitoes but do not adversely affect other wildlife or beneficial insects, or more importantly, people or pets.
Liz